Preserving those PDF links

Grant Application Attachments. Curriculum Plans. Professional Development materials. Help guides and manuals. They are typically made up of several separate documents, with a table of contents that has hyperlinks to each section. You can use the “Combine” tools in Acrobat to electronically staple those documents together. However, what happens when you add, delete or change a section and so need to update the table of contents? Do you need to recreate all those hyperlinks? What a waste of valuable teaching or research time!


There’s a neat trick in Acrobat that’s been around for ages, but I find most users don’t know about it. The “Replace Pages…” command (from the Document menu or the Pages pane menu), well, replaces existing pages in a PDF with one or more new ones from a second PDF. However, this command will only replace the page and it’s contents: it leaves interactive objects like hyperlinks and form fields!
So with the above scenario in mind, update your table of contents in InDesign or MS Word or whatever you choose, and save/export/print to Adobe PDF as usual. Then in Acrobat, open your original document, select the now out-of-date TOC pages in the Pages pane, and choose the “Replace Pages…” command as mentioned earlier. Select your new TOC pages PDF, check the page ranges, and click OK. You’ll find that your old links are now on your new TOC pages. Go ahead and edit the existing ones or add new hyperlinks as needed.
Your homework assignment: discover how you can use the links and fields from a Web Captured page on the pages of another PDF document you’ve created elsewhere.